You have finally decided to commit yourself to a regular workout session to reach your fitness goals. Congratulations, you have completed the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. There are many more steps to follow but they are nearly not as hard as making up your mind to get to the nearest gym. Now, it’s important to keep your morale up and not be discouraged by the bodybuilders and sprinters more advanced than you at the gym. You will get there one day, but before that, you need to learn how to continue your workouts properly. Here are some tips to get you started:
Choose the right clothes
Purchasing proper gym wear takes more effort than browsing the fitness aisles for your favourite colours. You should choose the material and fabric best suited for the type of workout you intend to do. Stay off cotton tops as the material absorbs sweat and becomes really heavy and uncomfortable during intensive sessions. Choose athletic wear that fits well without being too tight or too loose, because ill-fitting clothes can chafe your skin while you are working the treadmill. Do not buy clothes just because they look nice on the eyes or because they are on sale. Do spend some money on buying really good workout clothes, as they will last longer and will protect your body as it goes through demanding ordeals.
Do not try to lift 100 kilograms on the very first day of your workout session. Your fitness instructor, if you have one, will instruct you on the pacing of your sessions. Generally speaking, workouts should start gently and become more intense as you go along. Start with short sessions, such as fifteen minutes on the treadmill or five push ups to get your body used to rigorous physical activity. Once you get used to a certain activity, for example when that fifteen minutes on the treadmill barely makes you sweat, gradually switch to longer and harder sessions. You can potentially incur debilitating injuries if you bite more than you can chew, so to speak.
Combine cardio with strength training
Cardio exercises, such as jogging, treadmill running, skipping rope and even jumping jacks, are great to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Regular cardio will even give you visible results in as little as two or three weeks. Looks, as always, can be deceiving. That thinner frame you achieve after several arduous sessions on intense cardio could be due to loss of muscle, rather than fat. Intense workout sessions make your body burn energy from wherever it can obtain it. Rather than tapping into stored fat, your body can gain energy more quickly by burning your lean muscle, which is the complete opposite of what you want to achieve. You should be gaining muscle, not losing it, to get fit. More muscle mass means your body burns more energy during workouts, so you should combine your regular cardio sessions with strength training exercises for better results.
You have been to the gym enough times to master lifting ten pounds. Great, but that’s only the beginning. Once you get used to a certain level of intensity, you should gently increase the difficulty to keep burning fat and gaining muscle. Your body is highly adaptive to change. It may be terribly difficult to run a mile on your first try, but after a week or so of training, you would be able to do it without a huff, thanks to your body adjusting to the physical activity. The problem is, once the body gets used to five kilo dumbbells or level three on the row machine, the workout becomes less of a fitness test and more of a routine. That’s why you should up the intensity of each of the exercises you practice every two weeks at most.
What you eat before and after your workout sessions has a big say in how your exercise plans turn out to be. Refined flours and greasy foods are enemies of workouts, and you should avoid eating such carbs right before a session. Try to consume more proteins in the form of legumes like chickpeas and soybeans or grains like quinoa. Don’t eat a carbohydrate-rich diet right after a workout and consume foods high in protein and potassium to help your muscles recover.
The above suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, but they will be vital for making your workout plan a success.